POSITIVE PANIC ATTACK BLOG

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  1. Panic Attack Breathing

     

    meditationOne of the first things that people notice when they get anxious is their breathing changes.  As a person’s body becomes tense, muscles contract, and this tends to force the sufferer to breath from their chest rather than their abdomen.  When you’re in a state of calm, take note on how you breathe.  A good time to do this is when you go to bed at night.  You will notice if you’re relaxed, when you breathe in your tummy will move up as you inhale air, and when you exhale your tummy will back go down.  This will be a rhythmic motion and you will feel good and restful.

    Breathing Techniques for Panic Attacks

    When a person tenses, their tummy muscles contract almost as if you’re expecting a punch under your belt.  This forces the person to breath from the chest area.  If you’re exerting yourself this kind of breathing is perfectly normal.   You will Breathing Panic Attacksautomatically start to breathe from your chest area.   This is because your body needs oxygen fast so your breathing will be faster and shallower, not long deep breaths as if you were relaxing.  When you’re in a stressful, frightening situation (or what your mind perceives to be) your body will take over your breathing for you.

    This is fine if you genuinely need to fight or run.  But if you’re in the middle of a stressful meeting you don’t want to be breathing like you’re running a marathon!  Over breathing adds to the vicious cycle of panic symptoms and can lead to person feeling very unwell.  This is completely harmless but it can make you feel flustered and faint. This is called HYPERVENTIALTION.  Basically all this means is you are breathing faster than your body needs to.

    You will have to learn techniques to slow your breathing down, make sure you breathe from your abdomen and combine this with relaxation.  Controlling your Breathing, Relaxing and Changing the way you think are powerful tools to overcome anxiety.

    RESOURCES

    Breathing Techniques

    I have read several books on this subject and I would recommend either Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind - The Only Way to Oxygenate Your Brain and Stop Excessive and Useless Thoughts Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness orThe Breathing Book: Vitality and Good Health Through Essential Breath Work .  Both tell you the benefits of deep breathing which will help reduce feelings of panic and anxiety, but you can also control your emotions much better if you breath correctly.  If you are after listening to guided breathing through headphones than can find Breathing MP3 Downloads here.

    Relaxtion / Hypnosis Cd's - Contrary to what they claim should be used as a relaxation aid rather than any quick fix Thoroughly recommend you read through the description of the Cd to make sure you know what they contain.  Some techniques may work better than others for you, so taylor them to suit your needs.

    Hypnosis Cd for Panic and Anxiety Attacks   A very good hypnosis Cd thats especially produced for panic attack sufferers.  The more you use it and apply the techniques the more benefit you will get.
    Control Stress : Stop Worrying and Feel Good Now   I have included this in the Cd section but the bulk of the information is in a book format.  Paul Mckenna is one of the most famous hypnotists, and this book/Cd gives sound practical advice on decreasing stress.  The book has lots of techniques and tips which need to be applied and can bring a sense of reality when you might start thinking negative thoughts.

    Glen Harrold hypnosis cds Glenn Harrold has produced lots of different Cd's from weight loss to inner clam.  They certainly helped me in my recovery and I would recommend them fully.  If you click on the link you can search through the Cd's he has produced and see if any catch your fancy.

    Ultimate Relaxation   A guided meditation by the well known Dr Hilary Jones (you have probably seen him on morning TV).  Contains tips and techniques on relaxation.

    Dream Surf   If you like the sound of the ocean then this will be the Cd for you.

    Body and Soul - Relaxation: Resting the Mind Reviving the Body If you like just gentle soothing music without any hypnosis, meditation or talking then I recommend this.

    You can find the bestselling Relaxation/Anxiety Cd's here.  The most popular Relaxation MP3 Downloads can be found here and you can listen to a preview.

    You can find some FREE meditation and relaxtions audios at excelatlife

    If you want to record your own relaxation recordings then I have relaxation scripts/exercises you can record yourself.  I good way to do this is record them on your mobile phone and listen to the exercises when you need to.

    Meditation books

    Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear
    Pass Through Panic: Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Fear [Audiobook] [Audio CD]
    Ultimate Relaxation

    Other Related Articles
    Treatment for Panic Attacks

    How to Stop a Panic Attack?

    Fear of suffocation and Claustrophobia

    Prevent Panic Attacks - Challenging the Thoughts which Cause Panic

    How to cure Panic Attack Disorder?

    How to Cure & Recover From Panic Attacks

     

     

     

     

     

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  2. How to Stop a Panic Attack?

     

    How to Stop a Panic Attack

    stop panic attacksControlling and stopping panic attacks is a technique that has to be learnt.  You are unlikely to be successful the first few times you try to stop them as you have to put the time and effort into practising how to stop them.   You have to think that in the future when you will undoubtedly have more panic attacks, each panic attack give you a chance to practice how to stop them.  Whatever you read on the internet there is no magic pill that will stop them over night, let me make that clear. 

    There is something you should always have in your mind that NOBODY HAS EVER DIED OF A PANIC ATTACK.  No matter how ill you feel, no matter what thoughts are going through your head nothing is going to happen to you.  It’s only when you believe this and no longer fear the panic attack then you truly start to recover.

    I fully support Claire Weekes books. The more you accept the attack the less powerful it is.  Claire was a pioneer in anxiety, panic disorder, etc.  I call her the fairy godmother of panic attacks.  Her books gave me great comfort at the start of my recovery.  You can find more about her here.  I would thoroughly recommend her book Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear .  When you start to panic you must let your body go as relaxed, loose and floppy as possible.  Most people tense their body so much that they cannot breathe.  Once I realized that the more I fought the panic attack the worse it was, this was an amazing breakthrough in my recovery.

    A basic guide would be -

    • Live in the moment and go about your daily activity as normal.  Do not start worrying about future events which may trigger a panic attack
    • You may carry around anxiety most of the day but don’t let this bother you.  Try to stay positive and think happy thoughts; this will diminish over time once the panic attacks are under control.
    • Once you’re in a situation where you feel a panic attack coming on DO NOT RUN AWAY.  This will reinforce the behaviour and tell your mind there is something to be afraid of.  Stay in the situation, (if it’s possible) there is no harm it’s just your mind playing tricks on you.  Tell yourself that you have nothing to worry about.  Try relaxation, breathing and distraction as per my previous articles, but if you can’t seem to apply these tools then simply try and think thoughts that induce a nice warm feeling inside your body.
    • Try to be as calm as possible and let your body go floppy.
    • The most important thing is not to fight the attack but to laugh at the feeling and sensation and to totally ACCEPT it.  It’s a bit like the harder you through a rubber ball at a wall the harder it will come back.  Panic attacks are like this, the more you fight against it the worse it will be.
    • This is a good time to write any thoughts that are going through your mind because you will need to challenge these thoughts when you’re calmer to bring about long term change.  For me, standing in a queue was torture for me.  I would dread beforehand the thought of being in one.  I would think I’m going to start shaking with fear and people will notice? Where are the escape routes? etc.  These are the kind of thoughts you need to challenge.  Also distraction can be a great way of short circuiting the panic attack.  Instead of thinking negatively you can use this situation to think how I’m going to redecorate my room, or what team selection would I pick for my favourite football team.  Use everyday situations as a way of bettering yourself in positive way, rather than fearing it.  Just think I’m going to use this chance to show just how deep I can relax.  As I have stated before breathing, relaxation and distraction can help to reduce the panic symptoms.how to stop a panic attack

    Hyperventilation deserves a special mention.  It’s one of the symptoms which causes the most powerful sensations, for me the worst being palpitations.  It was the scariest sensation for me and I’m glad to say I very rarely get them now.  If I do I just ignore them and they go away.  Breathing is something that you can take over from your body and regulate that said; if your panic reaches such a high level you will not be able to breathe deeply in a relaxed way.  Some people advocate breathing in a bag to stop yourself over breathing (hyperventilation), this will help to stop you breathing in too much oxygen thus reducing the symptoms.

    In my opinion if it works for you use it, but it’s just a way of coping rather than solving the issue.  It’s much better if you use longer term strategies of changing your thoughts patterns to stop panicking.  You will find as you become more relaxed and less fearful about situations, (REMEMBER THE PANIC ATTACK ITSELF CANNOT HARM), your breathing will naturally become easier.       

    Keep telling yourself nothing disastrous will happen. You probably have suffered panic attacks many times and you have always come through the other side before and felt better again.  Panic is not designed to go on forever.  It just meant to be a short term feeling to help you to fight or run from a situation.  As long as you don't add fuel to the fire by telling yourself anxious thoughts the panic attack will naturally go of its own accord.                                  

    stop a anxiety attackDo you remember your history lessons when sailors thought the world was flat and if they sailed too far they would fall off the edge of the earth.  They were of course fearful of this.  By sailors actually sailing into the sunset and proving the world was round and there were other exciting new worlds to discover, means that today we no longer fear this anymore.   Panic attacks are like this, If you stand your ground and start describing the symptoms and why there happening (i.e. rapid heartbeat is because of the adrenaline – you’re not having a heart attack), you start to reduce the fear.   If you describe your panic attack as its happening and start taking it apart because you have the knowledge, you can see it for what it really is, NOTHING, JUST A FALSE ALARM.   By standing your ground and observing you are not giving into the fear and you can start learning from the experience to better equip yourself for the next one.

    Actually hope for another panic attack because they will give you the experience to move forward.  Eventually you will find that you will not be able to have a panic attack because you simply do fear it anymore.  If you don’t ‘feed’ the panic with anxious thoughts then the panic attack will switch off quicker, and it will simply have no power over you.

    Finally, challenging your thoughts is the key to overcoming anxiety.  For whatever reason you started to have very negative thought patterns you need to change these to bring about long term recovery.

    What did you find as the best way of stopping a panic attack in its tracks............. ??

     

    RESOURCES

     

    Books Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear   One of the first books I read on panic attacks and still one of the best.  I would say if your going to read any book first, read this one.  First published in the 1960's its been updated many times, but some of the best modern-day books still have the same principles running through them.  For first aid for a panic attack this is still the best book out there in my opinion.  For a programme for recovery its not the best as we know far more on what contributes to panic attacks and how to cure them.  For its time its was revoloutionary.  Claire Weeks has sadly passed away but she did recordings and other books as well - Click Here . If you would like to read my post on Claire Weekes Life and Books Click Here

    Understanding Panic Attacks: and Overcoming Fear   A very thorough and popular book on panic attacks. The book is easy to read and has a lot of common sense techniques. It gives a great deal of information on the back ground leading to panic attacks and goes behind the biology of panic attacks. It focuses on cognitive behavioural therapy tools to help you and a lot of the practical advice I advocate is in this book. Panic Attacks: What they are, why the happen, and what you can do about them: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them A book thats over ten years old but the same principles apply to day as they did then.  A good book that covers what to do whilst having a panic attack and an interesting chapter on how to help others with panic attacks.   It has some useful tips and will be helpful for anyone suffering with panic attacks, anixiety and agrophobia. Anxiety and Panic Attacks - Their Cause and Cure   An Amercian book and definately one of favourites.  Fun, easy to read and has a stepped program to recovery.  This book taught me some things I did'nt know about panic attacks and is written by someone who has gone through it.  The author has also set up a very useful organisation that helps people recover.  The book was written in 1993 but everything is still completly relevant. How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks: A Simple Guide to using a specific set of Techniques to Stop Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Fear of Driving or Flying and Stress   Written by a fellow panic attack sufferer who really has a personable approach to panic attacks.  The book really goes in depth in the emotional and psychological factors.  The description of panic disorder was exactly how I felt and you can definately feel empathy with how he describes the struggles involved.  Geert (the author) also has produced good videos on you tube and a helpful program at ilovepanicattacks.  Highly recommended.

    Free Yourself From Anxiety: A self-help guide to overcoming anxiety disorders   A book with a very caring attitude for anxious people with some great case studies of people who have various anxiety related issues.  Lots of sensible, useful and practical information you can apply to everyday life.

    Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action .  One of the frist books I read in my recovery.  Its very popular book.  Even though its not really designed for panic attack sufferers, the information is still very relative.  How you live your life and lifestyle is crucial to overcoming fear.  

     

    Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action

    Meditation

    School Phobia, Panic Attacks and Anxiety in Children

     

    Other Articles

    How to Cure & Recover From Panic Attacks

    Prevent Panic Attacks - Challenging the Thoughts which Cause Panic

    20 Strategies to Help You Cope with Panic Attacks

    Prevent Panic Attacks - Challenging the Thoughts which Cause Panic

    Treatment for Panic Attacks

    Why do Panic Attacks Keep Happening?

     

     

    large ebook

    Like what you read?   

      

    If so, please join to receive exclusive weekly tips & tools to overcome anxiety and panic attacks, and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, How to Recover & Cure Yourself of Anxiety & Panic Attacks! Just enter your name and email arrow right

     
     

    the secret blod the secret........

       DISCOVER THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING PANIC ATTACKS, ANXIETY & PHOBIAS.   CLICK HERE

  3. Why do Panic Attacks Keep Happening

     

    The crucial point you have to understand if you wish to overcome panic attacks is The POWER OF THOUGHTS is so in important.

    Once a person has become sensitized due to their thoughts, they become anxious over things they didn’t use too.  I will give you several examples.

    If a panic attack sufferer were to read about somebody who died unexpectedly of a heart defect, this will be enough to trigger panicky feelings.  People will often use their imagination on future events such as when they need to exert themselves and then think 'what if I have a heart problem.'  They say to themselves 'My heart often beats very fast when I have panic attack and sometimes I get palpitations.  This means I must have a heart problem'.  The problem with this thinking it creates worry, then stress, and ultimately the individual will have a panic attack when they go jogging or play football.

    For Example John, he use to love going to concerts but the last time he went to a concert he suffered a panic attack.  His friend asked him if he would like to go to a concert because he has free tickets.  John immediately said yes as it was a band he really wanted to see.  As the date of the concert drew closer John starts to worry about it.  He thinks to himself I use to get so excited about these things but now it’s a nightmare.  He images himself in long queues and how anxious he is going to feel.  He thinks 'what if I feel a panic attack coming on in the middle of the concert with all those people around me, how am I going to escape?  What if I do something crazy and make a fool of myself ?'

    Sarah has a presentation to do at work.  Sarah use to enjoy making presentations to showcase all her brilliant ideas.  Recently her mother had passed away and her relationship with her boyfriend has not been going well and she feels very stressed.  Sarah has been experiencing scary sensations that she has not felt before.  The presentation has been playing on her mind.  She starts to think what if I start to sweat whilst making the presentation, will anyone notice?  What if I start gasping for breath in front of everyone will they laugh?  She has also been feeling very faint and thinks she may collapse especially as her legs sometime go wobbly.

    All of the above scenarios cause anxiety.  Although nothing has actually happened to cause harm to anyone, the strange sensations have caused worrying thoughts which have in turn caused REAL PHYSICAL CHANGES.  

    From this we can deduct that –

    1. The way in which we interpret the sensations we feel is crucial in producing panic attacks.

    2. Whilst in a state on anxiety if we conclude that the feelings we are experiencing are the prelude to having a heart attack, going mad, fainting then its is only natural that we are going to panic.

    3. The power of thoughts has complete control over our bodies that’s why professional athletes will train their mind as well as their body to enhance performance.  In other words what we think influences our bodies.

    Why do panic attacks keep happening?

    Well if you think about this logically there is method to all this madness.   All these sensations are intending towhy do panic attacks keep happening make you remove yourself from danger (the fight or flight response).  Therefore these physical sensations and mental feelings of impending danger are there to help us, but clearly they are not doing this.  They seem to maintain a cycle of panic attacks.

    What is happening is when we enter certain situations the same old sensations keep firing off, and this is the crucial part, – WE FEAR THEM.  If we never worried and if we totally accepted these feelings.  If we let our bodies relax and go as calm as possible and just laughed, the panic would go away.  However to maintain these cycles we must be doing the opposite.

    • Avoidance is a common ‘safety behaviour’.  This term means that the sufferer will take action to avoid a place, person, (whatever it maybe) that’s causes the fear reaction.  The fear can be something external but the person also fears the internal sensations of feeling faint, rapid heartbeat (whatever makes them fearful.)    After a period of time the reaction is so normal that the person often does not even know why their panicking – it becomes habitual.  The classic places tend to be busy places like supermarkets, shopping centres.  This leads onto places within places such as lifts within shopping centres and the back of shops.   Airports are often described as the worst place as they involve queuing, talking to passport control, confined spaces, etc.  Environments which could also trigger sensations also become no go areas such as steam rooms which recreate the sensation of not being able to breath properly.
    • A safe person is another issue that can reinforce panic attacks.  Its very common in child panic attacks.  A ‘safe person’ means that the sufferer will not venture in certain places without a person who they perceive can look after them.  In an extreme case a person will not venture out at all without a ‘safe person’.  The inability not to be able to leave home is often called agoraphobia. (A book I recommend on this is Overcoming Panic and Agoraphobia )
    • Sufferers will often self-medicate in some way which will lead to the cycle of panic attacks reoccurring.  For example a person may use alcohol or tranquilisers to help calm them down.  There are many different things that the sufferer may bring in order to cope with the situation.
    • As described earlier, many people will try to avoid over exerting themselves in case this brings on a panic attack as many of symptoms are similar to when you are exerting yourself, i.e. rapid heartbeat, increased breathing, etc.
    • One of the most frightening sensations is light headiness and your legs feeling they are going to give way from underneath you.  This will lead to the panic attack sufferer sitting down or leaning again walls to help combat the feeling.  Of course they are not really going to faint or collapse but the fact they support themselves with some object reinforces the behaviour.
    • People often undertake rituals in order to counteract the horrible sensations they feel.  So if they feel they cannot breathe properly they will open windows or go outside for fresh air regularly, or they will continually carry paper bags to help with hyperventilation or feeling sick.

    Your reactions to the above symptoms and sensations are the reasons panic attacks still keep happening.  The human body is setting off warning signals that there is danger present.  Of course when we analyse the situation there is no real threat to our lives.  Walking into a busy shop, driving a car, not having a safe person with you is NOT A REAL DANGER.  Your mind and thoughts have created this environment and it’s only natural that you want to run from this.  However in doing this you are only making things worse and reinforcing the nasty feelings.

    SO HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THIS?

    This is the million dollar question and requires a lot of hard work and persevering as these feelings have become so engrained it can take many months to start mastering how you overcome panic attacks.

    Without doubt the first step is to start work in the quiet of your own home.  You have to start reprogramming your mind before you enter the situation which causes panic attack.  Remember all the good things you use to enjoy about the situation. So if you’re getting panic attacks in large supermarkets think of the nice reasons why you are entering the shop. 

    This should not be that difficult because people are not born with panic disorder, it is a leant behaviour.  It cannot even be classified as a mental illness its nothing more than a habit.  So just remember before all these sensations happened, how would you have entered these shops.  You would have probably gone in through the doors and seen the lovely fruit and vegetables and thought I really fancy a particular type of fruit.

    Most large supermarkets have clothes areas now and you probably thought while I’m here I going to browse for a new pair of shoes.  You may then have looked around the shop and thought you are going to try some new dish you haven’t eaten in years.  Remember the bread counter and smell the freshly cooked bread.  Think of how great that fresh bread is going to taste.  Do you get the idea?

    You have to think of the positive things that will happen rather than imagining all the negative scenarios.  I would thoroughly recommend reading some mediation books and getting some relaxation cds or downloads from the internet - See my resource page.  This will only be effective if you put the time and effort in, but it is key to re-programming your mind.  Start believing that there are no threats in a supermarket and the reasons you are entering the supermarket are all good, except you need to spend money at the checkout!

    Furthermore if you feel anxious when you enter a supermarket its imperative that you do not the start to think what if I have a Panic attack here, Will I make a fool of myself, what if I collapse, etc.  YOU CAN ONLY HAVE A PANIC ATTACK IF YOUR THOUGHTS ESCALATE FROM ANXIETY TO THE PANIC LEVEL.

    When you have all these horrible sensations such as feeling faint and your legs going wobbly you may use a shopping trolley to lean onto, which reinforces what you’re thinking.  In order to gain confidence and change the way you think, do not react to what you’re thinking and feeling.  In this case leaning on the shopping trolley is not helpful.  Instead reinforce what you have been practising in your meditation.  Think how strong your legs feel and that you have had these sensations before but you have never collapsed.  Laugh at the sensation and tell yourself it’s your mind trying to fool you but you know it’s wrong and soon you will feel great about yourself again. 

    Tell yourself that you are a fantastic, confident person.  Distract your mind by calmly looking at the food and thinking of what meals you are going to plan for the rest of the week.

    Do not worry about the checkout and queues at the end.  Just take everything as it comes and relax as best you can.  Let your body go as loose and flexible as it can.  You know this cannot harm you and you are confident in your ability to cope.  If anything, openly hope you will get a panic attack as this will give you all the practice you need to overcome this, and help you overcome the fear of having one.

    You will have good days and bad days but over the forthcoming weeks you will start to feel much better about yourself.

    Do you have bad and good days?  Does this article help you to think more positively??

    Resources

    Here are some books I found helpful in my recovery. If you feel you need some extra help I would recommend these books as a good starting point.

    Books

    Understanding Panic Attacks: and Overcoming Fear   A very thorough and popular book on panic attacks. The book is easy to read and has a lot of common sense techniques. It gives a great deal of information on the back ground leading to panic attacks and goes behind the biology of panic attacks. It focuses on cognitive behavioural therapy tools to help you and a lot of the practical advice I advocate is in this book.
    Panic Attacks: What they are, why the happen, and what you can do about them: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them A book thats over ten years old but the same principles apply to day as they did then.  A good book that covers what to do whilst having a panic attack and an interesting chapter on how to help others with panic attacks.   It has some useful tips and will be helpful for anyone suffering with panic attacks, anxiety and agoraphobia.

    Anxiety and Panic Attacks - Their Cause and Cure   An Amercan book and definately one of favourites.  Fun, easy to read and has a stepped program to recovery.  This book taught me some things I did'nt know about panic attacks and is written by someone who has gone through it.  The author has also set up a very useful organisation that helps people recover.  The book was written in 1993 but everything is still completly relevant.
    How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks: A Simple Guide to using a specific set of Techniques to Stop Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Fear of Driving or Flying and Stress   Written by a fellow panic attack sufferer who really has a personable approach to panic attacks.  The book really goes in depth in the emotional and psychological factors.  The description of panic disorder was exactly how I felt and you can definately feel empathy with how he describes the struggles involved.  Geert (the author) also has produced good videos on you tube and a helpful program at ilovepanicattacks.  Highly recommended.

    Free Yourself From Anxiety: A self-help guide to overcoming anxiety disorders   A book with a very caring attitude for anxious people with some great case studies of people who have various anxiety related issues.  Lots of sensible, useful and practical information you can apply to everyday life.

    Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action .  One of the first books I read in my recovery.  Its very popular book.  Even though its not really designed for panic attack sufferers, the information is still very relative.  How you live your life and lifestyle is crucial to overcoming fear.  

    large ebook

    Like what you read?   

      

    If so, please join to receive exclusive weekly tips & tools to overcome anxiety and panic attacks, and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, How to Recover & Cure Yourself of Anxiety & Panic Attacks! Just enter your name and email arrow right

      

    the secret blod the secret........

       DISCOVER THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING PANIC ATTACKS, ANXIETY & PHOBIAS.   CLICK HERE